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Mast Step Removed

posted May 20, 2010, 9:43 AM by Christopher Hubbell   [ updated May 20, 2010, 9:53 AM ]
After a little research I determined that I truly did need to remove the fiberglass which encapsulated the aft two mast step bolts.  Not only were they spinning freely, they were not adequately tight.  I made a run out to Ravat last night after putting my son to bed and rigged my Dremel tool for grinding.

It took a few surgical plunge cuts with the disc, and a little cleaning up of rough edges, but it took more time to run the extension cord than it did to complete this project.  The next picture shows one side of the fiberglass after removal, and the other about to be removed.

After getting a good look at the configuration I think it would be easy to add a backing plate, but I don't think its necessary.  The fiberglass looks very solid where the fender washer lays, and the deck core is dry, so I feel pretty good about the structure.

I'm a little concerned about being able to get the fore bolts back into the captive nuts.  I may need to cut the liner to do this, but I'm hoping not.

One discovery which surprised me is that the mast step is not bedded at all.  There was no butyl in place, so it just lifted right off the deck.  I plan to use an oversize drill to clean out the existing holes, then fill them with thickened epoxy.  I'll drill out the epoxy again, which will seal off the deck core, and hopefully keep it solid for the duration of my ownership.  I'm also going to put a light bead of 3m 4200 around the edges and around each screw hole just for good measure.

For now I just need to get the mast step polished up and throw a coat of wax on it.  I won't put it back on the boat until I decide on the painting strategy, which is very dependent on how long my deck and hull repairs take.